In India, Karzai reaches out to "brother" Pakistan

NEW DELHI Wed Oct 5, 2011 10:32am EDT

1 of 2. Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai (L) speaks with the media as India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh watches after signing a joint statement at Hyderabad House in New Delhi October 4, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/B Mathur

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai reached out to "twin brother" Pakistan on Wednesday in an effort to reassure an increasingly isolated neighbor that a deal to boost economic and security cooperation with rival India will not harm ties.

Islamabad has alienated both the Washington and Kabul governments over its suspected links with militant groups in Afghanistan and an agreement signed between Afghanistan and India on Tuesday appears to have further isolated Pakistan.

India is already one of Afghanistan's biggest bilateral donors, having pledged about $2 billion since the 2001 U.S. led-invasion for projects from the construction of highways to the building of the Afghan parliament.

"Pakistan is our twin brother, India is a great friend. The agreement we signed with our friend will not affect our brother," Karzai said in a foreign policy speech in New Delhi.

"This strategic partnership ... is not directed against any country ... this strategic partnership is to support Afghanistan."

Karzai's two-day visit to India comes during rising Afghan anger with Pakistan and Afghan accusations of Pakistani involvement in militant attacks.

Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sealed an agreement on Tuesday that spanned closer political ties to fighting terrorism and allowed India to help train its police and army.

It signals a formal tightening of links that may spark Pakistani concern that India is increasingly competing for leverage in Afghanistan.

Government officials in Pakistan, which has long feared a hostile India over its eastern border and a pro-India Afghanistan on its western border, have refrained from commenting on the India-Afghanistan agreement.

India has already trained a small number of officers from the Afghan National Army and a Pakistani analyst said Islamabad would be wary of any sign of greater Indian-Afghan cooperation.

"Suspicion will increase, but that's a negative approach," said independent Pakistani political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi.

"Unfortunately, there is so much Indian obsession in Pakistan that with every minor Indian move, there is panic."

ACCUSATIONS

The agreement with India is one of several being negotiated by Kabul, including one with the United States, that are part of an Afghan bid for greater security as NATO troops head home.

Concern over the ability of Afghan forces to maintain security as Western forces pull out has increased with a series of bloody Taliban attacks and assassinations.

Senior Afghan officials accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of masterminding the assassination last month of Kabul's chief peace negotiator with the Taliban.

Karzai, who has spoken out strongly against Pakistan in recent weeks, said there was a Pakistani link to the killing and investigators he appointed believe the assassin was Pakistani and the suicide bombing was plotted in Pakistan.

Even though nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have been trying to improve relations, analysts say Pakistan is desperate to minimize any Indian role in Afghanistan.

To do that, analysts say, Pakistan is looking to the Haqqani Afghan insurgent network to counter Indian sway, a strategy that infuriates Washington.

The top U.S. military officer has accused Pakistani intelligence of supporting an attack carried out by the Haqqani group, which is close to al Qaeda, on the U.S. embassy in Kabul on Sept 13.

Pakistan, which denies ties with the group, says it is committed to helping all parties secure peace in Afghanistan.

Karzai reiterated that Afghanistan should be negotiating peace with Pakistan, not the Taliban.

"We have decided not to talk to the Taliban because we do not know their address ... therefore we have decided to talk to our brothers in Pakistan," he said.

"The peace process will now be focused more on relations between countries ... than on individuals we cannot find."

(Writing by Paul de Bendern; Additional reporting by Qasim Nauman in ISLAMABAD; Editing by Robert Birsel)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (3)
tjmachado wrote:
If the Pakistanis would just focus on getting their house in order all can be good in the sub-continent. Instead the military cooks up the India card to keep themselves in power. Both India and Pakistan gained independence at the same time, one’s a roaring tiger the other an economic basketcase. I can’t believe the local people continue to be misled after 65 years of incompetent leaders.

Oct 05, 2011 8:06am EDT  --  Report as abuse
kev_b wrote:
I’m gonna take a wild conspiracy theory prediction. There is nothing new with the Haqqani group, they’ve been doing the exact same thing for at least the last year, but I’m sure longer. So what has changed in the last couple weeks to cause such an increase in tension between Pak. and Afgan.??? Well there is the gas pipeline that Pak. and Iran have agreed to, which was competing directly with the Afgan pipeline. My guess, if Pakistan and Afghanistan agree on the gas pipeline, they will become best of friends, if not… Pakistan will be labeled terrorists or something and things will get bad fast. Everything depends on the gas pipeline.

Oct 05, 2011 11:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Yosefzai wrote:
In reference to India/Pak relationship most of the unjust actions of Pak are known however in case of Afghanistan; Pak destroyed that country under the cover of a Muslim brotherhood. To keep the pashtuns of Khyber Pakhtukhwa under occupation Pak wanted to weaken Afg from within. Khyber Bakhtunkhwa was actually Afghanistan and was occupied by British and was declared part of Pak after the partition (see Durand Line). In 1972 Pak started forming training camps and used some religious Afghan individuals like Gulbudin, Masoud, Rabani, Sayaf, Khalis. In 1974 these people launched a failed coup. In 1978 a ferocious pro-soviet regime came to power in Afg. To escape its ferocity most Afghans took refuge in Pak. The ISI and CIA used that opportunity and further enhanced those training camps creating so much turbulence in southern border of Russia that it eventfully made the Russians deploy troops into Afg resulting in several million deaths/ refugee. Pak trough those religious figures living in Pak provoked a war or Jihad. According to documents revealed now by Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars; if it wasn’t because of CIA and ISI sensationalizing the cause of jihad; the regime of Traki/Amin would have collapsed in a couple of years due to their own internal problems (see Inside the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the Seizure of Kabul, also see The KGB in Afghanistan, or Documents on the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan e-Dossier No. 4) available for free from CWIHP website. These doc reveal that Russian never wanted to go to Afg or to stay there. As per US State Secrt Berezniki “we induced the Russian invasion to give them their Vietnam”. Therefore making that war unnecessary, in fact the Russian proposed safe withdrawal of its troops in 1982 and again in 1986 but as per Brzezinski “we wanted them to bleed and bleed more”. According to Mujahedeen commanders during the Russian war; Pak officers persistently were issuing orders to destroy dams, bridges and infrastructures. During the 10 years of war with Russia Pak was given billions of dollars to help Afghans however they used most of that money to rebuild Pak and develop nuclear weapon. Until today a major part of Pak’s budget is coming from Afg related conflicts. In 80s & 90s; Pakis kept the Afghan orphans in Madrasa brainwashed them and created Taliban out of them. In Pak there are 13000 madrasas if each produces 1 extremist we will have 13000 extremist per year. During the Taliban Pak was interested in destroying the military system in Afg. In fact by 1996 there was virtually no army or military or a single soldier. In the past 10 years Pak has received billions of dollars to stop the terrorism but the ISI further strengthen them. As long as there is war in Afg; Pak receives money therefore it prolongs the war. They have done all of the above under the name of Muslim brother and friend. It is time for Indians and Afghans to work closely and safeguard their countries from destruction.

Oct 05, 2011 4:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.